Please enable JavaScript in your browser to use this page.


Housing Accessibility (amendment to Policy H7)

2.81 The B&NES Corporate Strategy 2020-2024 overriding purpose is to improve people’s lives with principles focusing on prevention and preparing for the future. Accessible and adaptable housing enables people to live more independently. It is better to build accessible housing from the outset rather than to make adaptations at a later stage – both in terms of cost and with regard to people being able to remain safe and independent in their homes.

2.82 The NPPF sets out that planning policies should make use of the Government’s optional technical standards for accessible and adaptable housing where there is a need for such properties through the Local Plan. Planning Practice Guidance (PPG) requires that proposed accessibility standards consider overall impact on the viability of the development and consider site specific factors such as vulnerability to flooding and site topography.

2.83 A recent consultation by the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG) Raising accessibility standards for new homes (NEEDS A LINK) sets out that Government proposes to address accessibility issues within new homes highlighting within the consultation that ‘bold options to ensure more new homes are built to higher accessibility standards and with the features needed to give people the dignity and security they deserve in their homes.’ The consultation is also considering the best route to raising accessibility standards of new homes to help create a society where people can live more independently and safely, with greater choice and control over their lives.

2.84 Within the partial update it is proposed to take forward accessibility standards in line with up to date evidence subject to viability testing in line with the NPPF 2019 and PPG requirements. The policy also proposes to include the approach to site specific factors. However, the Government may bring forward accessibility standard requirements in advance of updates to policy through the Local Plan Partial Update, and in such circumstances local policy will be updated in line with any changes to national accessibility standard requirements. For affordable housing for reasons of deliverability it is proposed that M4(2) ‘accessible and adaptable dwellings’ standard will be allied to houses, ground floor flats and to upper floor flats where a lift is installed, plus age restricted homes. Policy H7: Housing Accessibility within the adopted B&NES Placemaking Plan which sets out current accessibility policy as relates to affordable and market housing is proposed to be updated as set out below.

Consultation reference DM 25

Amendments to Policy H7

It is proposed to update Policy H7 to require that new housing meets accessibility standard requirements as relates to M4(2) accessible and adaptable dwellings and M4(3) wheelchair user dwellings in line with up to date evidence and subject to viability testing. It is proposed that the policy includes an approach to site specific factors such as flooding and topography, whereby subject to justification the standards are met on those elements of the site where practicable.

For affordable housing M4(2) accessible and adaptable dwellings standard will be applied to houses, ground floor flats and upper floor flats where a lift is installed, and age restricted homes.